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World Humanitarian Day 2015

two men sitting on the floor; there is also a wheelchair
Krishna Bahadur Bista (right), District Coordinator of Sindhupalchowk Ageing and Disability Focal Point, talking with Buddhi Man, who lost his house in the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

World Humanitarian Day - 19 August - is a time to recognise those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. This year, CBM focuses on staff from our partners who have been involved in our response to the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

Inspiring the World's Humanity

The theme for World Humanitarian Day 2015, is 'Inspiring the World's Humanity'. CBM recognises this day by highlighting the thoughts and opinions of several of our partner staff who have been involved in our response to the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. Read these below...

We also encourage you to become an active messenger of Humanity by donating your social media feed, or to simply join the global discussion, using hashtag #ShareHumanity.

About World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognise those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.

Manish Prasai - Administrative Manager

headshot of a man ©NFDN
Manish Prasai is Administrative Manager of the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN)

How do you feel about doing humanitarian work?
Actually nobody wants disaster and destruction but it happens and we have to accept it. In the aftermath of 25th April's devastating earthquake, on behalf of National Federation of the Disabled Nepal, I got an opportunity to be a part of emergency response program supported by CBM, UNICEF and other organisations. The situation brought lots of things over me at the same time such as emotion, tears, frustration, time pressures, difficulties, criticisms, hurry, quick decision and so on, amidst constant fear of regular aftershocks. However we started to work and when results started to come it gave me very big joy, satisfaction and confidence. Not only this, It has also taught me more about my duties towards my society and community.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced?
In an emergency situation, decisions must be made quickly. But in our organisation, decisions are normally made through different consultation processes. So many times I felt it a big challenge, but we managed it.

What has/have the best success(es) you’ve had?
Beside some personal financial support to some affected children, I have not done anything important personally in the emergency response. But on behalf of our organisation we did many things. Out of these, despite so many challenges, the data collection of earthquake-affected persons with disabilities and fulfilling their immediate specific needs by coordinating with different service providers is the best that we have done so far.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
Some of the activities that I have done are:
  • Preparing press releases for media and request letter to the different relief and rescue stakeholder
  • Managing and monitoring the staff related to emergency response
  • Collecting data from affected districts and coordinate for the relief material
  • Uploading various relevant information in website
  • Developing program proposals to work on emergency response
  • Organising meetings with different stakeholders

Leela Khanal - Program Development Officer/Psychologist

A young woman smiling ©KOSHISH
Leela Khanal is Program Development Officer/Psychologist for KOSHISH, National Mental Health Self Help Organization, Nepal.

How do you feel about doing humanitarian work?
I count myself very lucky to be able to make a living doing humanitarian work that is in coalition with my morals and the things that I believe in. I feel that what I am doing as a humanitarian worker is more about action: providing emotional support to those in needs at a time of suffering. Being a part of the community of people who share similar ideals and aspirations is hard to quantify, but it is definitely a positive aspect of the job.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced?
Local cultural and social realities, challenges to confidentiality, individual versus population interests, and lack of awareness among community people about mental health issues and social stigma.

What has/have the best success(es) you’ve had?
I feel that [a good example of] the best way to improve mental health after an emergency is something which (with the financial support of CBM) KOSHISH is doing in Bhaktapur, one of the districts most-affected by the earthquake of 2015. We have been able to improve mental health condition of earthquake-affected people, and we are able to bring a change in the behavior of community people through different psycho-education and awareness activities. Because of awareness more people are coming out to seek services of mental health in their own community.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
I am working as a psychologist as well as Program Development Officer. As a Psychologist I provide counseling and debriefing, facilitate interactive workshops on topics like stress, trauma, resilience, and self-care, and help executives and managers think about staff care issues on a strategic and organizational level. As a Program Development Officer I plan, implement, supervise and evaluate the ongoing activities of emergency psychosocial response project of Bhaktapur district, and help project staff to maintain self care.

Ganesh KC, President

A man speaking into a microphone ©CIL Nepal
Ganesh works for the Independent Living Center for Persons with Disabilities, Kathmandu, Nepal (CIL-Kathmandu)

How do you feel about doing humanitarian work?
Doing humanitarian work gives me great satisfaction.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced?
Regarding disability, challenges which I have faced in past are lack of financial resources, assistive devices for persons with disabilities, information, relief materials, medical equipment and medicines.

What has/have the best success(es) you’ve had?
After the earthquake we were able to settle people with disability who had lost their homes in temporary shelter.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
I am working on the sector of disability. Basically we focus on making accessible environment, availability of assistive devices, availability of personal attendant services and job (livelihood) or equivalent social security allowances.

Dr. Narendra Singh Thagunna - Project Coordinator /Technical Advisor

A man using a laptop ©KOSHISH
Dr. Singh Thagunna is Project Coordinator /Technical Advisor for the Emergency Psychosocial Response Project with KOSHISH National Mental Health Self Help Organization.

How do you feel about doing humanitarian work?
I personally took it as a great opportunity to work with the people who were in extreme need of psychosocial support in the aftermath of earthquake. Being a mental health professional I got closer with the need of the people and applied the skills I have through my experiences and knowledge.   Previously I worked for Bhutanese refugees’ population as mental health professional in eastern Nepal. I enjoy my work because it makes people smile and rings rays of hope for future.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced?
High expectations, lack of understanding to mental health issues, difficulties in meeting targets and high priority of basic needs. Other challenges include coordination among organisations, avoiding duplication and deprivation in resource/ relief distribution, and the fact that people living with psychosocial disability - especially children and women - are more likely to be victimised.

What has/have the best success(es) you’ve had?
People living psychosocial problems and/or distress by the earthquake are identified through our intervention and are able to attain their psychosocial well-being through trauma care counselling.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
I am coordinating the project implemented by KOSHISH in Bhaktapur district funded by CBM with the aim to support people living with psychosocial disability and distressed people in emergency situation. I monitor and supervise field staff like psychologists, counselors and social workers, and provide inputs in clinical supervision. I maintain working relationships with donors, relevant government organisations, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), project stakeholders and partners for effective implementation of project activities. I work closely with other project coordinators and the admin and finance unit of KOSHISH, when needed. I also visit clusters to oversee the effective implementation of Project Organize, and facilitate the capacity building trainings and meetings of the project staff.

Kiran Shilpakar - President of NADP

A man in front of buildings ©NAPD
Kiran Shilpakar is President of the National Association of the Physical Disabled-Nepal (NAPD-Nepal)

How do you feel about doing humanitarian work?
It is great challenge as survivor and to be able to help others during the time of earthquake.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced?
  • Sourcing items (basic needs/relief material)
  • Assistive devices
  • WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygeine)
  • Accessible safe places/shelter
  • Inclusive plan for all the people

What has/have the best success (es) you has had?
  • Helping Hands (People from all over the world came in and join hands to help) and cooperation from Government, media, INGOs, NGOs, army during the time of earthquake to this time too to provide relief materials.
  • We managed WASH issues and provided assistive devices too.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
  • To provide basic needs/relief materials directly to people in need
  • Provide information about services and facilities provided
  • Recommendation/arrangement for support directly

Renu Shakya - Psychologist

A young woman smiling ©KOSHISH
Renu Shakya is a psychologist for KOSHISH, National Mental Health Self Help Organization, Nepal.

How do you feel about doing humanitarian work?
The reality is with this humanitarian work, I am not only helping the people but helping myself too. This work has made me realize my potential. Every day, I end up doing more than I could imagine doing in a day! Thus this work has been ‘an agent of transformation’ for me.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced?

There have been continuous challenges while working in the field but none of them has been ‘irrevocable’. The first and foremost challenge has been accessing people with severe distress due to stigma associated with this. We have been working continuously to enhanc awareness and provide psycho-education to front line workers.

What has/have the best success(es) you’ve had?
Best success- there are quite a few! Yet the one which has gripped my heart and mind has been about our success in terms of getting referral from frontline workers such as FCHV fFemale community health volunteers) and teachers. We have seen a tangible change in their behavior and understanding on referring people with mild to severe mental disorder. When we met them first, they were the ones to say that there are no mentally distressed patients in their community. With our continuous awareness programs, follow ups, psycho-education and self-help training programs, we are getting substantial number of referrals from them. They have also been seeking continuous refresher training to build their skills too to help the people in distress in their community!

Can you tell us a little about the work you do?
I have been working as a psychologist from KOSHISH Nepal since May 2015 in an emergency response project launched at Bhaktapur after the disastrous earthquake of April 2015. We work in a team of three (psychologist, counselor and social worker). My work comprise of providing psycho-social counseling, psycho-social support and self care training and liaising with relevant national and international organization in the field work. Apart from that, I supervise and report on all the activities conducted by our team.

More reading

Humanitarian Action

CBM working with local partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of disaster preparedness and response


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